Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Unless you actually know Andrew Brough, he is one of the great lost figures in recent New Zealand rock.
One of the songwriters in Straitjacket Fits alongside Shayne Carter, he jumped/was pushed in 1992 after their second album Melt and briefly re-emerged in the mid Nineties when he seemed to get the wind behind him with Bike which became a vehicle for his distinctive, melodic songwriting.
An aficionado of (and somewhat of an expert on) mid Sixties pop-rock, Brough had contributed Sparkle That Shines to their debut EP Life in One Chord, a genuine Kiwi classic EP. He also wrote the lovely Down in Splendour for Melt.
With Bike, he kept the focus on a wall of melodic guitars and this, their debut single, was a finalist for the APRA Silver Scroll songwriitng award in '96. Bike were also nominated as Most Promising New Band at the New Zealand music awards.
Recorded in the summer of '96-'97 at Auckland's York Street, the song was produced by Malcolm Wellfsord and Brough, and the line-up had Tristan Mason on bass and Karl Buckley on drums.
Although an album Take in the Sun was released in '97 -- preceded by the single Circus Kids, Wayne Bell now on drums -- Bike seemed to disappear into the haze very quickly, their promise never fulfilled.
There were some live shows but after the release of the album things just ended, not with a bang but a whimper.
Pity, because in the promo sheet which came with the Circus Kids single, Neil Finn -- a regular visitor to York St -- heard the song and allegedly commented, "Proof again that Andrew Brough writes a damn good tune."
Check out the clip. He did.
Does he still? Who would know?
This song seems oddly prescient in a metaphorical way: "Don't you try to save my life, I'm already dead . . ."
Incidentally, there are some terrific photos of Brough, Carter and SFits at Jonathan Ganley's excellent Point That Thing website here.
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